January 2009

Storms, power outages close Southern for week

January 31 2009 by BP Staff

A major ice and snow storm that hit Louisville, Ky., Tuesday and Wednesday has left most of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary without electricity and forced officials to cancel classes.
 
The seminary and its undergraduate school, Boyce College, lost power around 1 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 28, and officials cancelled classes for the remainder of the week. Students were urged to find off-campus housing, and those who couldn't were placed in some of the few on-campus locations that have electricity: single males in Carver Hall, single females in Boyce Chapel and married couples and families in Heritage Hall.
 
Downed power lines from the storm left more than 500,000 homes and businesses across Kentucky and Southern Indiana without power.
 
"Most every tree on our campus has received some damage," said Andy Vincent, the seminary's associate vice president of auxiliary enterprises.
  
The only seminary buildings with power as of Thursday were the Grinstead Apartments, Carver Hall, Rankin Hall and a portion of the Springdale Apartments.
 
"Everything else is totally out," Vincent said. "Seminary officials have been in touch with the Louisville Gas and Electric Company, but we have no idea when it will be fixed."
 
One local apartment complex has offered to house families in its vacant units. In addition, faculty and other members of the seminary community have opened their homes to students without power.
 
"We are appreciative to the faculty and staff who are really responding to this situation," said Lawrence Smith, the seminary's vice president for community relations. "Several area churches are also helping us out."
 
Seminary chef Jim Whaley has led efforts to feed all students remaining on campus. Vincent estimated that the seminary fed 300 people at dinner Wednesday and 200 at lunch Thursday.
 
(EDITOR'S NOTE - Based on reporting by David Roach and Garrett Wishall, writers for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

1/31/2009 11:54:00 AM by BP Staff | with 0 comments



God big in Mississippi, not so much in Vermont

January 30 2009 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON — Want to be almost certain you'll have religious neighbors? Move to Mississippi.

Prefer to be in the least religious state? Venture to Vermont.

A new Gallup Poll, based on more than 350,000 interviews, finds that the Magnolia State is the one where the most people — 85 percent — say yes when asked "Is religion an important part of your daily life?"

Less than half of Vermonters, meanwhile — 42 percent — answered that same question in the affirmative.

Joining Mississippi in the top "most religious" states are other notches in the Bible Belt: Alabama (82 percent), South Carolina (80 percent), Tennessee (79 percent), Louisiana (78 percent), and Arkansas (78 percent).

Next in line: North Carolina tied with Georgia (76 percent).

New England predominates in the top "least religious" states.

Following Vermont are New Hampshire (46 percent), Maine (48 percent), Massachusetts (48 percent), Alaska (51 percent) and Washington (52 percent).

"Clearly, states in the South in particular, but also some states in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains ... have very religious residents and New England states in particular, coupled with states like Alaska and others, are irreligious," said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of The Gallup Poll.

The reasons why, however, are far less clear, observers said.

For example, some might attribute the religiosity of Mississippi to the high percentage of African-Americans — long known for being comparatively highly religious — who live there.

"Mississippi is still No. 1, even if we look only at whites," said Newport. "Whites in Mississippi are also very religious."

Overall, Gallup researchers found that 65 percent of all Americans said religion was important in their daily lives. The total sample of 355,334 U.S. adults, including respondents with land-line telephones and cellular phones, had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point. Some states had margins of error as high as plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Newport was surprised that one state — Utah — did not make the "most religious" list, given the state's large Mormon population.

"They apparently have two kinds of people in the state," he said. "They have the very religious and devout Mormon population but it also looks like they have a lot of nonreligious people."

Mark Silk, director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, said Gallup's findings reflect research conclusions from the upcoming American Religious Identification Survey, which he is working on with other scholars.

"New England is now slightly ahead of the Pacific Northwest in terms of the high rate of unchurched people," said Silk, co-author of One Nation, Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics.

Although evangelicalism may be making some inroads in Western states like Washington and Oregon, he attributes the predominance of New England states in the "least religious" category more other demographic trends in the Northeast.

"What we are finding ... is a considerable drop in New England in the Catholic population," said Silk, whose center is based in Hartford, Conn.

And it's a matter of them moving away from the church, he said, not the region. "Catholics are holding their own nationwide because of Latino immigration but, relatively speaking, there's little of that in New England."

Silk suspects some Catholics have left the church because of the Catholic sex abuse scandal that first erupted in Boston, which "kind of pushed some sort of relatively loose affiliation Catholics over the edge."

Following is Gallup's entire list of states, in order of what percentage of respondents said religion is "an important part" of their daily lives:

  • Mississippi (85)

  • Alabama (82)

  • South Carolina (80)

  • Tennessee (79)

  • Louisiana (78)

  • Arkansas (78)

  • Georgia (76)

  • North Carolina (76)

  • Oklahoma (75)

  • Kentucky (74)

  • Texas (74)

  • West Virginia (71)

  • Kansas (70)

  • Utah (69)

  • Missouri (68)

  • Virginia (68)

  • South Dakota (68)

  • North Dakota (68)

  • Indiana (68)

  • Nebraska (67)

  • New Mexico (66)

  • Pennsylvania (65)

  • Florida (65)

  • Maryland (65)

  • Ohio (65)

  • Iowa (64)

  • Minnesota (64)

  • Illinois (64)

  • Michigan (64)

  • Delaware (61)

  • Wisconsin (61)

  • District of Columbia (61)

  • Idaho (61)

  • Arizona (61)

  • New Jersey (60)

  • Wyoming (58)

  • Colorado (57)

  • Hawaii (57)

  • California (57)

  • Montana (56)

  • New York (56)

  • Connecticut (55)

  • Nevada (54)

  • Rhode Island (53)

  • Oregon (53)

  • Washington (52)

  • Alaska (51)

  • Massachusetts (48)

  • Maine (48)

  • New Hampshire (46)

  • Vermont (42)

1/30/2009 8:27:00 AM by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service | with 0 comments



Working or retired, Simpson keeps on preaching

January 30 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Marvin Simpson moved to North Carolina to retire midway between the Northeast where his children are, and Georgia, where his wife’s children and her mother lived.

Instead of a rocking chair life, Simpson has been serving at least one church, and most often two, the entire time.

At age 80, Simpson finally relinquished his part-time role as minister of senior adults at First Baptist Church, Mebane.

Now, he is “just” full-time pastor at Kerr’s Chapel Baptist Church, on the southern edge of Caswell County, north of Elon. Simpson came to Graham in 1994, a year after he married Mary, a Georgia widow who had once been a member of a church he pastored in New York, before he was pastor there.
 

Tears still come

Early in his career Simpson managed sales for a dairy before responding to a call to vocational ministry. He wrestled against his image of impoverished pastors, “living hand to mouth, with holes in their shoes.” He still tears up remembering the day when it became crystal clear for him.
 
Simpson, the 13th of 14 children, told his brother that day, “I don’t know where I’ll be next year at this time, but I’ll be in ministry.”

At age 32 with four children, and experience as a lay preacher, Simpson investigated enrolling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Four professors there each encouraged him to return home and begin to pastor.

Arriving home, he learned that Frostburg Baptist Church where he had “just spoken a few Sundays,” had called him as its pastor while he was gone. It was 1960 and a half century of ministry was just beginning.

Simpson was appointed a Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) pioneer missionary pastor at Champlain Valley Baptist Church in Plattsburg, N.Y. for 4-5 years. Little did he know his future wife had just moved from there to Omaha with her military husband.

Later, after both Marvin and Mary had lost their spouses, they married and spent their first winter in Maryland. It snowed, sleeted or had freezing rain 17 times that winter.

“I would probably have left him that first winter,” said the sweet Georgia native. “But I couldn’t get out of Maryland because the weather was too bad!”

He followed a fairly common trail of pastorates that took him to Ellicott City, close to Baltimore, then Grace Baptist, then to First Baptist Church in Waldorf, Md., and for the first time, now with five children, he could buy a house.

“I didn’t know Waldorf was in the bad shape it was, or I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to go,” Simpson said. “I’ve always been a church leader who could work through problems with people, and lead them to come together. I probably learned it in the dairy.”

Simpson preached a lot about love and forgiveness and in about 18 months the church began to grow, he said.

The daughter of a leading deacon in the church eventually married Simpson’s son, Bob, who is now editor of the Maryland Baptist newspaper.

Simpson retired in 1990 so he could care for his wife Ruth, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 1987 and would die in 1991.

Ruth and Marvin had always planned to do special ministries when they got older. For the most part, the churches he led were missions or “in trouble” when he started.

While Simpson does not see himself “as a great orator” God has used his abilities to “work with people, to stand up to and to face issues.”

Eventually mutual friends introduced Mary and Marvin and they moved to Graham in April 1994. “My mood was to fill pulpits here and yonder,” he said. “That’s all I humanly wanted to do.”

He did an interim at Beulah Baptist on Hwy. 158 for 10 months and then was glad to take a breath. Before he could exhale Kerr’s Chapel asked him to preach on Mother’s Day, then again on Father’s Day. He’s been there ever since 1997, first as interim briefly, then as full-time pastor.
 

Second job

When Simpson and Mary moved to Graham, they joined First Baptist Church, Mebane, and as members immediately found a place to serve. Pastor Terry Farmer told Simpson the church had 65 homebound members and Simpson and Mary set out to visit them and keep them connected with the church and with Farmer.

“He and his wife were fabulous,” said Farmer, who enjoyed their ministry for about seven years. When Simpson thought he might need to give up his role at First Baptist after he became pastor at Kerr’s Chapel, Farmer told him it might be a tradition in Baptist life to serve one church at a time, “but I’m not hung up on that.”

Radiation treatments last summer sapped his once abundant energy but he feels it coming back, Simpson said.

He loves Kerr’s Chapel and appreciates the members’ pride in their facilities, and their willingness to take the lead in programs.

“They are a lovely people and fun to be around,” Simpson said. “They take care of us in the most beautiful manner, no doubt about it. They’re an easy bunch to work with.”

Kerr’s Chapel runs about 100 in worship in a rural area with little residential growth. Once predominantly farm country, today many workers commute to Burlington and Greensboro.

When Simpson volunteered to step aside for a younger pastor, they told him, “If you can’t get to the pulpit, we’ll build a ramp and push you up there.”

“This is the most loving and easy church to work with that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Simpson. It is also his longest pastorate. It’s no wonder he feels if God gives him good health and energy to age 99, he could keep on preaching.

1/30/2009 6:00:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments



Mars Hill event mixes new event, old message

January 30 2009 by From contributed reports

Mars Hill College is hosting an event in February that organizers are calling a new way to reach a new generation with an old and unchanging story.

Contributed photo

Carl Cartee performs at Ignite 08 at Mars Hill College.

The school will be hosting Ignite ’09 at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 28 at Moore Auditorium on Mars Hill’s campus. It’s the school’s second year hosting the Christian revival service designed specifically for young people.

“It’s a Jesus thing, it’s not a denomination thing,” said Gordon Benton, director of church and community relations at Mars Hill and one of the primary coordinators for Ignite.

Benton said churches cooperating to plan and coordinate the event cover four counties in western North Carolina, and include Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian and nondenominational churches.

Christian musical artists Carl Cartee and Leap of Faith will perform again this year.

Also part of the musical portion of the service will be performances by “3-D,” a quartet of dancers specializing in worship through creative movement. The evangelist will be Clayton King.

“People from a more traditional background may be uncomfortable at first with the Ignite approach,” Benton said. “But when you hear the lyrics of the music, when you feel the spirit of the worship and when you hear Clayton King preach, you know that this event is definitely about raising up the Christ of the Bible. And He said if He were raised up, he would draw all men to Himself.”

Planners of Ignite 09 at Mars Hill College plan to have a series of prayer services leading up to the event. Christian counselors are needed for both services. For more information contact Benton at (828) 689-1276.

What do you think about Ignite?
Are you a youth leader and you’ve seen how Ignite has made a difference in your youth? Are you a young person who has attended Ignite and seen the Holy Spirit working in your life or your friends?

Tell the Biblical Recorder what Ignite has meant to your spiritual walk or share changes you’ve seen in another person.

What other tools or events do you use to make a difference in your personal walk with Jesus?

E-mail dianna@biblicalrecorder.org or mail Biblical Recorder, P.O. Box 18808, Raleigh, NC 27619-8808.

1/30/2009 5:55:00 AM by From contributed reports | with 1 comments



Campbell Law applications defy national average

January 30 2009 by Campbell University

With its impending move to Raleigh only months away, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University is enjoying a 20 percent increase in applications over the year prior, though across the country the applicant count is down two percent, according to a release from Campbell.
 
Campbell Law was also featured as one of the nation’s most outstanding law schools in the 2009 edition of The Princeton Review’s Best 174 Law Schools.
 
With an enrollment of 366 for the 2008-09 academic year, Campbell Law School is one of the smallest legal education programs in the U.S. In fall 2009, Campbell Law School will relocate from the main campus in Buies Creek to downtown Raleigh, currently the largest U.S. capital without a law school.
 
“In the case of Campbell Law specifically, I think the overall increase directly correlates to our planned move to Raleigh,” said Assistant Dean for Admissions Lewis Hutchison. “Today's students want to be in an urban environment where they can gain experience and see the law in action. Being within walking distance of the state legislature, appellate courts, state agencies and numerous law firms and corporate offices, means our students will be able to do both.”

1/30/2009 4:41:00 AM by Campbell University | with 0 comments



Children’s Ministry Day falls on Valentine’s

January 30 2009 by Woman’s Missionary Union

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Feb. 14 church groups and families from around the country will collectively put faith into action through national Woman’s Missionary Union’s (WMU) Children’s Ministry Day.
 
During Children’s Ministry Day, with a Valentine’s theme of “Loving Hearts,” participants are asked to minister to health care needs in their communities, following the admonition of 1 John 3:18 (NIrV): “Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.”
 
“Children’s Ministry Day allows children’s groups from all over North America to minister and witness together,” said Mitzi Eaker, children’s ministry consultant for national WMU. Last year’s inaugural Children’s Ministry Day engaged an estimated 15,000 participants to provide help and hope to the hungry. Each year, Children’s Ministry Day seeks to evoke compassion that extends beyond the pews into the community.
 
A Children’s Ministry Day promotional pack is available at www.wmustore.com, or call WMU customer service at (800) 968-7301.

1/30/2009 4:36:00 AM by Woman’s Missionary Union | with 0 comments



IMB uses reserves to meet expenses

January 29 2009 by Baptist Press

RICHMOND, Va. — The International Mission Board (IMB) had to use $7 million from its reserves to cover expenses last year, IMB officials said.

IMB treasurer David Steverson told IMB trustees at their Jan. 26-27 meeting that the declining value of the dollar, rising living costs overseas and medical expenses led the IMB to draw a "larger than usual" amount from its reserves.

“I believe we need to buckle our seatbelts and get ready for another challenging year in 2009,” Steverson said. “While I believe the worst of the stock market decline is behind us, we now have to deal with all the fallout of that decline.”

Anticipating another tough year, trustees had already tightened the 2009 budget — cutting administrative costs such as reducing travel expenses and not adjusting salaried wages — in their November meeting. The budget allows for sustaining the current levels of missionaries on the field.

Facing another year of a troubled economy, IMB trustees pressed forward with efforts to restructure the organization.

IMB President Jerry Rankin shared his excitement about changes on the way this year. In their September 2008 meeting, trustees approved a reorganization designed to improve the board's ability to impact lostness and expand relationships with churches.

Trustees voted to realign their regional committees to focus on people groups or “affinity groups,” matching the reorganization of the board's overseas work. Affinity groups are drawn together by language, culture and ethnicity, and not limited geographically.

Trustees also approved a measure that will streamline the restructuring process by allowing IMB leadership to transfer personnel to different assignments without trustee action.

“This is a matter for efficiency,” said Gordon Fort, vice president for overseas operations. “(This) will enable us to move ahead and report back to you later, rather than bringing numerous transfers ... to the subcommittees in the next few meetings.”

Trustees also heard a report that $3.3 million was appropriated this past fall to human needs projects around the globe. Tom Elliff, senior vice president for spiritual nurture, also announced he will be concluding his full-time work with the board in March.
1/29/2009 4:50:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 0 comments



SPLASHing people with God’s love

January 29 2009 by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The joy of a baby in the bathtub, happily splashing water on everyone within range, inspired a new approach to helping Christians share their faith.

“SPLASH” — Show People Love And Share Him — is a six-week study of the life and ministry of Jesus that focuses on how Christ helped people experience God’s love in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life, explained Ken Hemphill, coauthor, with his wife Paula, of the material.

“I never really intended to write the book,” said Hemphill, national strategist for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative.

“I was bathing my grandbaby one day and, by the time I finished, I was wetter than she was. I walked away from that event and the Holy Spirit stopped me and said, ‘That’s what evangelism ought to look like. You get around Christians who love Me, then you get splashed with living water.’”
 
Published in December 2007, the material is in its third printing. Leaders of a Southern Baptist association in southwest Missouri believe SPLASH has the potential to mobilize the vast majority of church members who currently don’t talk to their friends, neighbors and co-workers about Jesus.

“This is a huge need for us,” said Jim Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Nixa, Mo.

“It’s really caught on and our people have caught a vision for what it can mean.”

Wells invited Hemphill to conduct a SPLASH training for 64 congregations in the association after a strategic planning process with the North American Mission Board found Tri-County pastors believed evangelism was the No. 1 need in their churches. A Sunday night rally this past November drew 360 pastors and church members.

“It was a great success,” said Wells, who also serves as the Southern Baptist Convention’s registration secretary. “It’s the biggest thing we have ever done in our association’s 30-year history. Right after the event, I began hearing about churches already starting the process.”

The SPLASH concept is “a simple, natural process for living out the Kingdom life of impacting people in your SPLASH zones — circles of influence — with the Living Water,” said Kenneth Priest, an associate in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s church ministries department.

“The focus is to be prepared to simply share your story of life in Christ with the people around you.”
SPLASH isn’t intended to replace more structured evangelism approaches like FAITH and Evangelism Explosion, Hemphill said.

“In the Book of Acts, we see two different approaches to evangelism,” Hemphill said. “One is strategic, where they went from house to house, and the other is spontaneous, as they took advantage of every occasion. I suggest that the church needs both.

“I tell people they can use strategic approaches, month after month, year after year, and there’s still going to be a certain percentage of your people who will not get involved,” Hemphill added. “This is trying to get that other 95 percent engaged in a means of reaching their neighbor, their colleague at work, their boss.”

Contrasted with strategic approaches like FAITH, SPLASH encourages Christians to be a lot more spontaneous, Hemphill said.

“For example, let’s say I’m on a treadmill today, working out, and the guy beside me says, ‘Man, this stock market has really got me worried,’” Hemphill said.

“Instead of ignoring that, you might want to say something like, ‘Well, you know, honestly I’ve looked at that myself and wondered whether I’m going to be able to retire anytime soon, but you know the other day when I was in my quiet time, the Lord brought to my mind the Bible verse that says, ‘Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and supplication ...’ and it really made a difference.’”

While many Christians talk readily about Jesus in their “holy huddles,” they don’t often mention Him in conversations with unsaved friends, Hemphill said.

“The whole concept is to start talking to our neighbors about Jesus as if He were your best friend,” Hemphill said.

“That’s just natural. It’s not something artificial I have to dredge up. It’s just that my response to virtually anything is Jesus.

“The key is to keep telling your daily story, what God is doing in your life today, to unsaved friends in the power of the Holy Spirit, and link it to the Word of God.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is an assistant editor with Baptist Press.)

1/29/2009 4:45:00 AM by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Churches free to broadcast Super Bowl

January 29 2009 by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service

Churches can hold parties to watch the upcoming Super Bowl with fewer restrictions this year.

The Rutherford Institute, which joined members of Congress in challenging the National Football League's previous rules, has reminded churches that they can host viewing parties Feb. 1 on large-screen televisions in their buildings.

"As long as they follow the basic guidelines set forth by the NFL, churches can now rest assured that they are free to have football parties and show the Super Bowl game," said John W Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville, Va.-based civil liberties organization.
 
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals face off in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the modified policy eliminated past rules regarding the size of the screens on which the game is shown.

"The only thing we do ask is that these organizations not charge admission — the game's on TV for free — and that they hold the parties at locations they regularly use for other large gatherings," he said Jan. 27.

McCarthy said his New York offices continue to receive calls from churches about the policy.  

"We had always had calls throughout the history of the Super Bowl," he said. "It hasn't been that substantial this year."

Members of Congress and church leaders objected to the NFL's previous ban on widescreen televisions. The league had said churches could not hold Super Bowl parties featuring TV screens larger than 55 inches, even though sports bars routinely did.

Last February, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a letter with a series of questions about the policy, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., introduced legislation that would permit churches to show the game on widescreen TVs.
    
Goodell wrote back to Hatch to inform him of the rule change and noted that the league believed the legislation was not necessary.

1/29/2009 3:25:00 AM by Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service | with 0 comments



Cardinals chaplain ponders Super Bowl 'destiny'

January 29 2009 by Art Stricklin, Baptist Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Don't waste time with jokes about how God must have performed some sort of miracle to get the Arizona Cardinals to their first-ever Super Bowl, team chaplain Chad Johnson advises.

Johnson probably has heard all the jokes, but most importantly, he sees God working among the players and coaches of the NFC champions who will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
                
"We feel a sense of destiny, because there have been many happenings that we see God's hand in this," Johnson said before the Cardinals' improbable NFC title game victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
                
Like having a former top quarterback with his career supposedly over replaced by a young and flashier signal-caller, only to be revived in the desert with another chance to give his Christian witness.
                
Like a new group of coaches, some with strong faith backgrounds, meshing with some solid faith veterans to turn the team toward success after a half-century of football futility.
                
"I just think we have some great witnesses on this team and, being there in the Super Bowl for the first time, they have a chance to give God honor and praise for His greatness and faithfulness," Johnson said.
                
When Johnson was invited by former Cardinals coach Denny Green to be the team's chaplain five years ago, he saw it as a perfect complement to his ministry. He had arrived in Arizona more than a decade earlier from his home state of Colorado to serve as youth minister of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, a Missionary Baptist church in downtown Phoenix. Today, the youth ministry serves more than 4,000 kids, meeting their need for Jesus Christ in today's contemporary urban environment.
                
Johnson also has worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in the state since 2002 — the same ministry that encouraged him to accept Christ into his life in 1994 when he attended an FCA summer camp in Flagstaff, Ariz.
                
"I'm working with these guys (Arizona Cardinals), sharing and meeting needs, but it's a ministry to their life and a ministry to the individuals. It's not that much different than my work with the youth ministry," Johnson said.
               
He has worked to build relationships with the players as well as the new set of coaches who came in two years ago, encouraging them in their faith and in their pro careers where, in Arizona, on-field success always seemed to be elusive.
               
"I always heard Denny Green say this team was on the brink of something," Johnson said. "Last year, our team ministry theme was 'Believe.' This year it's 'Feel the Lord's hand.'"
               
 While starting quarterback Kurt Warner gets a lot of the credit for his consistent witness for Jesus Christ, Davis said others on the team are playing a part.
               
Each Wednesday afternoon after practice, Johnson leads a one-hour Bible study for the players. A couple of dozen have shown up each week — and the numbers have been growing as the team has advanced in the playoffs.
               
There is a Friday morning mentoring and one-on-one time with Davis and the team members, along with the weekly Sunday morning chapel before that day's game.
               
Because Davis lives in the Phoenix area where many NFL players spend the off-season, he has also been involved in ministering to other players including Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.
                
Beyond the excitement of facing off against the Steelers on Sunday, Johnson said God's message will continue to ring out.
                
"God keeps validating His people," he said, "and keeps lifting up His word."

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Sticklin is a Dallas-based sports correspondent for Baptist Press.)

1/29/2009 3:23:00 AM by Art Stricklin, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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